The Invisible Line

By: Carmen Stephens

Chattanooga (UTC)-The United States is the only nation on earth that had preserved for over three centuries a genetically discontinuous enclave of mostly African ancestry within a larger population of European ancestry. The phenomenon demands study.

Sometimes the things that separate us are often times the things that brings us together. Although we are no longer physically segregated, it is our mindsets that tend to keep us from getting out of our comfort zone.

As a student at UTC, the University Center is a place where students can go to eat, study, or just hang out. Something what tends to get the attention of students is the invisible line in the eating areas. As a spectator, it appears that where one sits is based on his/her ethnicity. However, there are always exceptions to every rule.

Shonda Foublasse, UTC junior agrees that the invisible line does exist in the UC. Shonda said that time of day has an effect on how how noticeable the invisible line is. She said, “It’s usually black people at top, white at the bottom and and a lil mix on the side.” In addition, she charges the seating arrangement to how people were brought up and what makes them comfortable.

Kristie, agrees with Shonda that there is a visual invisible line, but she does not however feel bound to those stipulations. She said, “there is a visual line, but I don’t feel like I am stopped from going to sit anywhere. I don’t feel like I need to stay on one side.”  This is an example of how some people acknowledge the fact the there is a stereotype, but does not let that determine where they sit.

The phrase color line was originally used as a reference to the racial segregation that existed in the United States after the abolishment of slavery. The invisible line could be dissolved if people begin to take the time to get to know one another.  Some people may wonder what all the fuss was about when civil rights leaders fought for equality.

Shanee Driver, UTC sophomore, says that her and her friends have certain names for the different sections. For example they use Africa to represent where the black people sit, China where the foreigners sit, and America where is where the white people sit. She describes “Africa” as being loud and rowdy.  She also couldn’t understand if the people’s decision was intentional or unintentional. She thinks the entire situation is sad but says, “this is just what we have chose to accept as reality.”

This is an example of how some people get so caught up in looking at situations from the outside in, that even though you think you may think you are not directly effected by the invisible line you inevitably fall in the stereotype yourself. 

 PBS did an article entitled “America Beyond the Color Lines” with Henry Gates Jr. The article gives insightful information of his impression of the color line and how it has changed over time.

A Rescue Plan for Homeowners

By Carmen Stephens

MESA, ARIZ(AP/UTC)—President Barack Obama unveiled an ambitious $75 billion plan Wednesday to keep as many as 9 million Americans from losing their homes to foreclosures.

The Problem at Hand

Of the nearly 52 million U.S. homeowners with a mortgage, about 13.8 million, or nearly 27 percent, owe more on their mortgage than their house is now worth, according to Moody’s  President Obama said, The American Dream is being tested by a home mortgage crisis that not only threatens the stability of our economy but also the stability of families and neighborhoods,” he said. “While this crisis is vast, it begins just one house and one family at a time.”

The Purpose of the Plan

Obama’s plan aims to keep between 7 million and 9 million people from foreclosure. The $75 billion Homeowner Stability Initiative is designed to provide a set of incentives to mortgage lenders in an effort to convince them to help up to 4 million borrowers on the verge of foreclosure. The goal is to cut monthly mortgage payments to sustainable levels, defined as no more than 31 percent of a homeowner’s income. Funding would come from the $700 billion financial industry bailout passed by Congress last fall.

The Recipients

The plan specifically helps those said to be “under water” — with dwellings whose market value have sunk below the principal still owed on the mortgages. Such mortgages have traditionally been almost impossible to refinance. But the White House said its program would help 4 million to 5 million families do just that — if their mortgages are owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.  Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan stressed that homeowners don’t need to be delinquent in order to get help.  “The plan I’m announcing focuses on rescuing families who have played by the rules and acted responsibly,” Obama said. “It will not rescue the unscrupulous or irresponsible by throwing good taxpayer money after bad loans.”

The Downside

“This plan will not save every home,” President Obama said.  He said the plan will not help those who took risky bets by buying homes to sell them, not live in them, or dishonest lenders who distorted facts for naive buyers, or buyers who signed on for loans they knew they could not afford.


Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

A New Meaning for Black History Month

By: Carmen Stephens

CHATTANOOGA (UTC) — For many, Black History month is a time when you simply write an essay and make a presentation on an influential member of the civil rights movement or from Black History. Others sing Negro spirituals, and some treat it like another month of the year.  However, now that a African American is president, people seem to take more pride in the price that was paid for our freedom. 


The dreamer.

The dreamer.

Martin Luther King Jr. would be thrilled at the progress that has been made thus far. Nearly 46 years ago, he spoke the words,


“One day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed.  We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal….Little black boys and girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today.”  

Today not only have people come together as brothers and sisters but we have the first African American President.

Some may feel that over the years the dream has been forgotten or delayed.  Some may even feel that Black History month has somewhat lost its impact.  Cathrine McElhinny said “It’s not more important but since the recent inauguration, it has made people more involved and pay more attention.”   Black has interactive section on their website that allows visitors to quiz themselves, view galleries and gain knowledge on new information. 

Rap icon MC Lyte recently gave her opinions on the new president and its effect on the community.  She said, “all the excuses are out the window.” 


There is no reason why we as a people can’t succeed.  Anything can be as long as the time and effort are put forth.


Results of a dream come true.

Results of a dream come true.

The phrase “anything is possible” is more believable and in arm’s reach now more than ever.  In my personal opinion, I feel that Black History has allowed those individuals who were always told that they wouldn’t make it or they couldn’t make it because of ethnicity now believe that they can be anything. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and many others; this is what they and all of our forefathers fought and died for. And just as our President stated, “we are the keepers of this legacy.” Their legacy must live through us.


So what exactly does having a Black President mean?  Well, it means hard work and daring to be different pays off.   It means that dreams really can come true.

Jennifer Hudson- Back in Action

Carmen Stephens

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF(AP/UTC)–The 27-year-old singer/actress is slowly starting to return back to work following the October slayings of her 57-year-old mother, Darnell Hudson Donerson; 29-year-old brother Jason Hudson; and 7-year-old nephew Julian King. Her estranged brother-in-law has been charged in the killings. She gave a sincere and heart warming performance of the national anthem at this year’s Super Bowl. httpv://

Only four days later she performed again at the Grammy’s.  A smiling Hudson performed her hit “Spotlight,” which earned her one of her four Grammy nominations, and got a standing ovation from the crowd. But she raised the bar with a pairing with Barry Manilow, injecting one of his signature songs, “Weekend in New England,” with a lacking ingredient — soul.

Hudson also did an outstanding job on the tribute to her mother entitled “You Pulled Me Through” at Clive Davis’ party.  Davis spoke highly of Hudson.  “Very touchingly, she called me when she read of my lifetime achievement award, (and said) that she wanted to be part of it, that she wanted to come back with her musical life, so, of course, that is touching,” he says. He added that Hudson will also be performing a surprise duet “that people won’t see elsewhere.”  httpv://

Jennifer Hudson has finished filming her first video since the accident.  The clip for “If This Isn’t Love” was done in Los Angeles and is set to debut the week of Feb. 9.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

Obama Admits: “I Screwed Up”

By: Carmen Stephens

WASHINGTON(AP/UTC)– Two weeks into his presidency President Obama, proved that even a clearly gifted politician cannot escape gravitational pull of Washington forces that he has vowed to reform.  “I screwed up”, Obama said during a series of TV interviews.  “I take responsibility for this mistake.”


Uncle Sam always wins.

Uncle Sam always wins.

A new president’s team imperfectly vetted top nominees. The nominees, it turns out, had not paid taxes for household help or other services when they were private citizens. The news media and political adversaries bored in. And rather than spend more valuable time and political capital defending the appointees, the administration dropped them and moved on.


This just goes to show, our president isn’t perfect.  This may be news to his adoring supporters, but like other presidents, he too will struggle with making the best decision for economy, health care, military matters, and Congress.

Obama’s rocket ride to the White House, his extraordinary speaking skills, and his smooth, I-don’t-sweat style had some people calling him “the one,” a once-in-a-generation political leader who could rise above his predecessors’ foibles.

President Obama appears to be learning from previous presidents such as Bill Clinton by cutting his loses early and not not waiting too long to name top appointees and stumbling into sticky, nonwin issues such as gays. 

The Associated Press had disclosed that in 2005 the District of Columbia filed a $946 tax lien on the home of Nancy Killefer— nominated by Obama to be the government’s first chief performance officer_for failure to pay unemployment compensation tax on household help. Killefer withdrew her nomination early Tuesday, saying she did not want to become a distraction for the young administration.

Hours later, President Obama seemed to get it: “It’s important for this administration to send a message that there aren’t two sets of rules — you know, one for prominent people and one for ordinary folks who have to pay their taxes.”

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

Coping With High Textbook Prices

By:Carmen Stephens(UTC) –Textbook prices now take a bigger bite out of a student’s educational budget.  

In 2005, the United States Government Accountability Office did research on the increasing cost of textbooks.  What they discovered was that over the past two decades textbooks have increased at twice the rate of inflation but not as much as tuition. At an annual rate of 6 percent, the cost has nearly tripled from December 1986 to December 2004. To see the results of the study, click here.   

Although the prices continue to rise, the students still need books.  According to UTC Adjunct Prof. Michael Andrews, he was surprised by the increase in textbook costs.  He said assumed that a book he needed for his course would be no more than $20.00, but it was instead $70.00. 

When financial aid isn’t enough, students have to come up with the funds out of pocket for books.  UTC Sophomore Marlaina Hayes says she is fed up with the rising textbook prises.  She said, “I spent nearly $600 buck on four books. That is outrageous.”  She said it’s hard being a student who has to pay for gas, food and books.  At times, she feels that she has to choose between getting the books she needs and putting gas in her car.

According to an article by Amy Rolph in the University of Washington press, while textbook sales increased 7 percent overall in the last fiscal year, the number of textbooks sold at college stores have dropped about 30,000 between 2007 and 2008. To read the article, click here

 Students and teachers could be searching for other ways to purchase their books while saving money. Some students buy from and, saving nearly 50 percent of the total purchasing cost.

 Here is the difference between UTC’s Bookstore prices and Half. com


·         Biology 121           $208.90          $100.79

·         BMGT 100             $120.90          $46.50

·         Math 133              $155.55           $59.00 


Students who purchase a book a full price often lose money in the end.  For instance, a student might pay full price for a book in August, but in December based on whether or not there is a new edition of the book he will get maybe 20 percent of the purchase price back if the bookstore are still taking that particular book.

Larry Hurston, UTC freshman, has chosen other options.  He said, “Right now to save money me and some of my friends decided to share a math book so that we could save a little money.” He also said, “since we have different teachers we never have to worry about having tests on the same day, so it has worked for us.” 

Student Support Service students don’t have as many problems when it comes to purchasing textbooks.  Textbook loan is one of SSS’s major programs, allowing students to reserve books for their classes.  SSS tries to purchase the most important books — a gesture that can make a big financial difference.

Another way that students can save money is checking the books out at the library.  Here at UTC, a professor can hold the books on reserve. That means a student can check the book out within the library and study there. The only drawback is you can not leave the library with the book and sometimes they limit how long a person can have the book checked out.

Olivia–A New Addition To The Nickelodeon Family

By Carmen Stephens

NEW YORK(AP/UTC)–Picture book character Olivia made her debut Monday in a more colorful life on Nick Jr..  12-year-old Emily Gray, plays the voice of the 6 3/4 twirly drama queen and fashionista who has a can-do spirit and love of red stripes, and growing social life.

Award-winning author and illustrator of Olivia Ian Falconer, said the character is on a real Olivia, his niece.  The production company wanted to to expand Olivia’s look without losing her spunk and and physical humor.  Emily said, “I like how outgoing she is and how she tries new things and doesn’t worry about what everyoune else thinks about her and just wants to be happy with herself.” 

One might even say that this is a more realistic hildren’s show.  Brown Johnson, president of Nickelodeon’s animated unit said Olivia varies from other shows in that it is “really about storytelling”, without being too “storybook.”

Falcon said, the overall essence of Olivia is  “just this little girl who has this huge imagination and turns the everyday goings on of life into this incredibly big adventure. But it’s not for accolades. It’s not for stardom. It’s just how she is.”

Although Falcon’s books were geared more toward girls, the show can be enjoyed by all who consume it.  Langston reassures the people by saying “kids of both genders have responded positively to the series, They’re been really engaged with it and really, really connected to Olvia.”

The President and First Lady

By Carmen Stephens

WASHINGTON (AP/UTC)–President and First Lady Obama danced the night away as they scurried from one inaugural ball to the next, greeting supporters.  Not only is the President a businessman, but a family man, and he adores his wife and children.

While at the ball, President Obama asked a crowd of supporters and celebrities, “First of all, how good looking is my wife?”   Reports say he pulled her close for a slow dignified two-step to the song that marked the end of a long day of formal inaugural events and the two-year campaign that put them in the White House.

 Although the night was long and tiresome, the two remained upbeat and happy like high school sweethearts.  Both shared timeless memories as they smiled and laughed endlessly.

Unlike some who were nervous about their time to shine on the dance floor, the Obamas were enthusiastic, splitting up to dance with Marine Sgt. Elidio Guillen and Army Sgt. Margaret H. Herrera.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.